Taliban Foreign Minister visits Iran for talks focusing on refugees, economic issues
The Taliban-led government of Afghanistan sent its foreign minister to Iran on January 8 to discuss Afghan refugees and a growing economic crisis.
“The visit is aimed at discussions on political, economic, transit and refugee issues between Afghanistan and Iran,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Abdul Qahar Balkhi said on Twitter.
The Taliban delegation headed by Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi has already held a preliminary meeting with Iranian officials, he said.
This is the first such trip since the Taliban seized power amid the collapse of the West-backed government and a chaotic withdrawal of US-led foreign forces in August.
Iran, which has not recognized the new government formed by the Taliban, is welcoming millions of Afghans and fears a new influx of refugees.
Last month, its border guards clashed with Taliban fighters along a segment of the border in what Iranian media reported was a “misunderstanding” on the Afghan side.
Shia Iran, which shares a 900-kilometer border with Afghanistan, did not recognize the power of the Sunni movement the first time the Taliban held power in Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001.
“Today we are basically not about to recognize” the Taliban, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said at a press conference earlier this week.
The Taliban have formed an all-male cabinet made up entirely of members of the group and almost exclusively of ethnic Pashtuns.
It further restricted women’s rights to work and study, sparking widespread international condemnation.